Turkey: Beware of fake earthquake images

Turkey: beware of false images of the earthquake

Images falsely attributed to the earthquake in Turkey have been circulating since February 6 on social networks. Before sharing an image, the Rumor Detector reiterates that you should always ask yourself two questions.

1) Is the individual or account that posted this image a trusted source?

For example, a Twitter account whose name gives the illusion that it is a news channel, but whose photo is that of John F. Kennedy Jr, is one of several to have shared, since the 6 February, a video of an explosion supposedly occurring in Turkey, but which is actually that of the explosion of the port of Beirut, in 2020. As well as a video of a tsunami, which actually occurred in Durban, South Africa , in 2017.

Turkey: beware of false images of the earthquake

BBC disinformation journalist Shayan Sardarizadeh on Monday called the account “a conspiracy that capitalizes on natural disasters”. It should also be noted that the fact that this Twitter account displays a blue hook no longer guarantees anything: under its new owner, Elon Musk, Twitter now sells this hook to anyone who pays $8 a month.

It’s not is obviously not the only one to have shared these images. The video of the tsunami, relayed by different accounts, has been viewed at least 30,000 times.

Turkey: beware of fake images of the earthquake

2) If it comes from a secondary source (friend, colleague, friend of a friend), is the original source cited?

< p>What we usually see on social media, after a natural disaster or a tragedy, are messages relaying photos or videos without attribution. Like the footage below, whose message claims to be of a building collapsing due to the earthquake. It is actually scaffolding collapsing due to high winds in April 2016 in Japan. This post has been viewed 14,000 times on Twitter.

Turkey: beware of false images of the earthquake

If you are the type to share this kind of image, try, each time, to name the account of the media or the person where you took it.

Two gestures for go further

And if you have doubts in front of an image, you can also take two actions.

1) Tfind another source 

If keywords make it possible to quickly identify the event, a Google search will make it possible to find a reliable media which spoke about it, if it turns out that this event is indeed linked to the earthquake. Words like “explosion” or  “Tsunami”, followed by “Turkey earthquake” allow a more specific search than “damaged building”.

2) Do an image search

This video of another building that allegedly collapsed in Turkey on February 6 actually shows a building that collapsed in Florida on June 24, 2021, killing 98 people. was viewed over a million times on Twitter between February 6 and 7.

Turkey: beware of fake earthquake images

This other image of a collapsing building shows in reality the controlled demolition of two residential towers in Noida, India on August 28, 2022.

Turkey: beware of fake images of the earthquake

However, in both cases, you can find the original image quite quickly, with the help of Google Images. If you download it to your phone, then all you have to do is tell Google's search engine which image you want to search for. If you can open two windows at the same time on your device, drag the suspicious image from its page to that of Google Images. It is also possible to search from the URL address of the photo: to find it, use the right mouse button and select “ Copy image address ”.

The Tineye tool also gives good results, although no tool can find all the pages on which the photo has already appeared. For a video, it is advisable to take one or more screenshots and try the same search.

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